UK Jails Two Men in the "Premier League" of Arms Trafficking

Two men described in court as the "premier league" of firearms suppliers were jailed Monday for selling weapons from the dark web to organized crime gangs across the UK.

news-image-30367Umair Khan (left) and Nazim Hussein (right) (Photo: National Crime Agency)Umair Khan, 29, bought antique firearms from legitimate dealers and auction houses across the country, before purchasing large quantities of custom-made ammunition from the dark web, according to the National Crime Agency (NCA).

By doing so, he transformed obsolete revolvers into fully-functioning illegal weapons that he then sold to criminals, according to the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS).

Between August 2014 and February 2017, Khan also bought explosives, stun guns and over 1,600 rounds of ammunition from the dark web under the alias ‘cheeko412.’ He also enquired online about purchasing assault rifles.

The purchased arms were sent from Sweden and were concealed within postal parcels and packets in sophisticated vehicle concealments.

Two imported stun guns were disguised as a knuckle-duster and a torch, according to Sky News.

Khan’s criminal enterprise was exposed earlier this year when he ordered a hand grenade from an undercover agent posing as a dark web seller. Authorities intercepted the delivery and replaced the contents with a non-explosive substitute, before allowing it to be delivered to a Birmingham address. He was arrested February 20, according to NCA.

Police arrested the second man, Nazim Hussain, the following day. Hussain had been helping Khan by arranging numerous safe houses across Birmingham where the arms could be delivered and stored.

Hussain ensured that deliveries were signed for by others before being passed onto Khan at a later date.

"Khan set himself up as an armourer for organised crime groups and had no thought for where or how the weapons would be used. Although we have been able to link 50 revolvers to him, I believe he is linked to many more," said Spencer Barnett from the Organised Crime Partnership (OCP), the joint task force set up by the NCA.

One weapon, for example, was found in the hands of a Class A drug dealer who was stopped by West Midlands Police in a stolen vehicle.

Khan was jailed for 22 years and Hussain for nine years.